Why ABC Passed On The Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. Spinoff

agents of shield bobbi lance

The Marvel universe is showing no signs of slowing down or shrinking over on Netflix, but back at ABC where it all began (in modern terms) with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., it's a rougher road. When 2016 began, it looked as if we might end the year with both Agent Carter and the S.H.I.E.L.D. spinoff Marvel's Most Wanted accompanying the spy drama. But neither one survived the spring, and now ABC president Channing Dungey has revealed why the Mockingbird-led adventure didn't make it out the gate.

Marvel's Most Wanted, at the end of the day, did not feel as strong as some of the other pilots that we shot. We talked about it with Marvel and we all came to an agreement that we wanted to figure out what the next show that we do together [is] and we all feel is as creatively strong as it can be.

That's a pretty candid response for why the network passed on the series, which other networks probably would have jumped at, given the Marvel branding behind it. But at least there is sound reasoning behind Dungey's words. ABC didn't strike ratings gold with Agent Carter with either of its two seasons, and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. could use a bigger audience itself, so there was definitely cause for hesitation when it came to picking another Marvel project. If only half of a modest audience is interested in a spinoff, that's hardly a sustainable model for the future.

As well, this allows everyone to go back to the drawing board as far as what ABC's next comic book output will be. There are a few things supposedly still in development, such as the comedy Damage Control and the shrouded-in-secrecy drama from 12 Years a Slave director and American Crime creator John Ridley, and Dungey told the crowd at the TCA press event (via IGN) that the network is still looking at projects they were working on before, as well as some "totally new ideas and IP." So one would assume that every single one of these ideas, should they make it to series, would necessarily be better than watching Bobbi, Lance and Delroy Lindo uncovering a conspiracy. That's logical, right?

At this point, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is revving up for a gear shift for Season 4, changing up not only the cast but the structure at the heart of S.H.I.E.L.D. itself. (Bye-bye, Director Coulston!) Because actress Adrianne Palicki recently signed on to Seth MacFarlane's new Fox series coming next year, it's unclear whether or not she'll be back as Mockingbird in the future.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4 will blast its way onto ABC on Tuesday, September 20, at 10 p.m. ET. To see when everything else is coming to the small screen later this year, check out our fall TV schedule.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.